The San Juan Daily Star
Economic self-sufficiency is the goal at microentrepreneurship event
By The Star Staff
At an event called “Meeting of Microentrepreneurs” held in Guaynabo this week, the Family Department and the Administration for the Socioeconomic Development of the Family (ADSEF by its Spanish acronym) teamed up to achieve the improvement and economic self-sufficiency of island families living below the poverty line.
At the event, more than 100 microentrepreneurs were trained and economic subsidies were awarded to new entrepreneurs through the Economic and Social Development Opportunities Program (PODES), which allows participants to obtain up to $5,000 for the purchase of equipment and materials to establish their microenterprise.
In 2021 and 2022, a total of 122 entrepreneurs established or expanded their microenterprises with the support of the PODES program. So far in 2023, some 29 microentrepreneurs have begun the process to join the program.
Interim Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche said “this project is a unique opportunity for people who want to start their own business to turn their dream into a reality.”
“Programs like PODES allow our families to start their path to economic self-sufficiency, while at the same time we strengthen our economy,” she said. “It is another mechanism to promote the value of work as a vital element to achieve a better quality of life in our society.”
The director of the Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Caridad Pierluisi, added: “This program is 100 percent state, so the governor [Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia] makes sure we have these funds annually for each of you.”
“We offer training in your area of interest, equipment to do your job, and $5,000 in incentives,” she said. “We make a commitment to progress together, supporting [PODES participants] for two additional years.”
“Here begins a world of possibilities and other benefits for which participants may be eligible …, such as the Work Credit program, which allows you to receive a maximum of $6,707 in funds, and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), under which you can receive $1,500 for each child,” the director of the governor’s office continued. “I share with you that, thanks to credits and programs like these, the poverty rate has dropped by 2% in 2021 and we expect the figures for 2022 and 2023 to be even higher, especially when unemployment is at 6%, the lowest percentage in our history.”
ADSEF Administrator Alberto Fradera Vázquez noted meanwhile that “through the PODES program, large projects are continuously developed, in which after a process of mentoring and accompaniment, we provide all the services, resources and opportunities that help them develop their potential to the maximum of their capabilities.”
The program is subsidized with $200,000 in state funds. During the training event, held in Guaynabo, financial aid was delivered to several PODES participants, including Jorge Ramírez Santiago, who has started a company focused on cleaning services and patio design, and Yaritza Ríos Pérez, who is dedicated to the sale of plus-size clothing.